Boots on the Hill: Find the tools for business ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration's Veterans Business Outreach Centers.

Author:Kurtz, Stan

Gary Peterson, owner of One Community Auto in New Mexico, wakes up every morning and heads to a job he loves. The recipient of several awards and recognition, One Community Auto provides a vehicle donation service where everybody wins--from the vehicle donor to the nonprofit receiving the donation.

As a retired Major of the U.S. Air Force, Peterson has served his community in more ways than one, as a proud business owner and veteran with more than 23 years of service. During his transition from military to civilian life, Peterson took a job as a business advisor at his local Veterans Business Outreach Center in Albuquerque. There he discovered that business ownership serves as the perfect marriage of his skills and lifelong passion for cars. He then began to take advantage of the plethora of resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.


Located in Albuquerque, the New Mexico VBOC is one of 22 total in a nationwide network. VBOCs serve as a "one-stop shop," providing a range of entrepreneurial development services for transitioning service members, veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses looking to start, purchase or grow a business. VBOC clients get in touch with their local center if they:

* Are thinking about small business ownership as a post-service career--this includes opening a franchise

* Could benefit from additional management expertise, mentorships, and access to market opportunities and capital

* Are preparing to apply for an SBA-backed loan or a federal contracting certification

* Are developing or improving a business plan

Each VBOC provides business training and counseling, pre-business plan workshops, mentorship, resource referrals and other business development services.

Some VBOCs focus on a veteran-focused entrepreneurial topic such as supply chain diversity or franchising--or even have industry-specific expertise with veteran-owned businesses in rural/agriculture services. In 2017, VBOCs provided training and counseling to more than 48,000 clients.


During his tenure as an advisor at the New Mexico VBOC, Peterson took the Boots to Business (B2B) class. B2B is an entrepreneurial training course delivered by SBA district offices and resource partners. As the entrepreneurial track of the Department of Defense's Transition Assistance Program (TAP), B2B equips interested transitioning service members with the foundational knowledge and tools they...

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